We’ve been indoors, stuck at home, for nearly two months now and chances are, your motorbike has also been as inactive as you. After sitting idly in the car park for a few weeks without getting any action, your bike might have undergone some internal changes not visible to you.
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We speak to experts and find out how to maintain your bike during this period and what you need to look out for before you take it out on the roads again.
1) The battery might have drained out
The bike charges the battery through its charging system when the engine is running. Hence, when it is not being used, the batteries will lose the charge over time. “There are also other factors that will accelerate the draining of the battery, such as the IU unit, poorly grounded wires, alarm and security features, and computers on the bike,” said Darren Sim, 29, general manager of local motorbike workshop Revology.
The best way to prevent this is to let it run from time to time. Turn on your bike every couple of days and let it idle long enough to heat up, or you can take a quick ride around your estate or parking lot. If you intend to leave it unused for a prolonged period, you can disconnect the batteries or at least the IU unit. That way, your battery won’t drain out!
2) Tyre pressure might be low
In a similar fashion, when your bike is not used, the tyres will lose pressure because of the change in outside temperatures. Unlike cars, most motorbikes do not have a tyre pressure indicator so the only way to find out is to check it manually. Riding with low tyre pressure is dangerous, so please check if they are properly inflated before you take your bike out.
3) Engine oil might be coagulated.
City riding (with a lot of engine start-stops) is actually very bad for the bike, but this is something we cannot avoid in Singapore, thus the only thing we can do is to try and minimise the damage caused by city riding.
Sitting idly in traffic without flowing fresh air for proper ventilation heats up motorbike engines rapidly, leading to overheated engines that might cause sluggish engines and loss of power. The fuel combustion might also be incomplete and this leads to the formation of deposits in the fuel system that affects engine performance and fuel efficiency.
One way to counter this is to use high quality engine oils such as Caltex’s Havoline® Super 4T and SuperMatic 4T engine oils that are formulated with C.O.R.E.+ Technology. Caltex Havoline®’s C.O.R.E+ Technology helps to clean and protect the engine for efficient performance, stabilise oxidation to protect against oil degradation, reduce engine heat damage by delivering continuous and superior oil stability and enhance acceleration by improving clutch grip under high loads with ZoomTech.
Using these advanced formulation will help to keep your bike in better condition during its period of inactivity.
4) The fuel might be contaminated
When the bike is not being used for a while, moisture might infiltrate into the fuel tank and result in water contamination that possibly can cause corrosion. In a worst-case scenario, microbial growth might occur if water contaminates the fuel and cause fuel filter clogging and stalling.
To prevent this from happening, you should top up your fuel tank to the brim to minimise head space and ensure your gas cap is tightened properly. Another concern is on deposits that may have settled down in your fuel tank over time.
Expel deposits using the Caltex’s Techron® Concentrate Plus for Motorcycles, a fuel system cleaning treatment that helps to restore lost power by removing harmful deposits in the fuel, improve engine responsiveness, reduce engine noise and enhance fuel economy.
All you need to do is add one 75ml bottle of Techron® Concentrate Plus – Motorcycles to your nearly empty fuel tank (up to 6 litres) before topping up the fuel. Repeat this application every 3,000 km for best results over time.
Using the Techron® Concentrate Plus for Motorcycles in combination with the Caltex Havoline® lubricants would help your motorcycle operate at peak performance with better power release and acceleration, as well as keep it in good shape by cleaning and protecting your engine at all-temperature operation.
5) Sealants might have dried and cracked
Rubber components will harden and become brittle over time. “This can cause them to crack and cause fluids like engine oil, coolant and brake fluids to leak. Common rubber components include your hoses, gaskets, seals and tyres,” Darren added.
“Before you take your bike out, check for any visible leaks. Turn on the bike, let it idle and heat up, then check again. Do not ride the bike if there are any leaks or if you are not confident with its condition. Arrange for a technician to access the bike if required,” he advised.
Your safety is of utmost importance so make sure your bike is in good condition before you take it out for a much-awaited spin on the roads. Keep it under cover if it is parked outdoors and use anti-corrosion spray for metal parts to prevent them from rusting.
Do also test your brakes and check that they are working before you head out!